Our auctions last week saw a range of rare and interesting material go under the hammer, with several hundred bidders competing over the course of the two days with their bids on the book, the internet, the phone and through their auction agents bidding live via video telephone. Below I’ve picked out a couple of things from each catalogue that caught my eye, and evidently the attention of the bidders as well!

Olympics & Football

The mini auction series kicked off with our regular Olympics philately and memorabilia auction, which had a rich vein of football interest running through it as well as a non-Olympic football section at the end. Interest was notably strong for these lots, in particular the period before the first World Cup in 1930, when the title of champions of the world was played out at the Olympics. Uruguay rained supreme in 1924 and 1928 and produced a set of commemorative stamps on both occasions.

One of the rarest items of football in the sale (illustrated above) was lot 10564, a postal stationery card produced by Huygens with a football illustration and sent registered from the Olympic stadium with Olympic stamps and the Olympic cancel. It’s very scarce used let alone sent registered from the stadium. It sold for €1’900. There are 28 variations of these cards, some with illustrations of other Olympic sports such as swimming, and some with text. For further information, see Laurentz Jonker’s monograph: “Postal Stationery of the 1928 Olympic Games: The Semi-Official Postal Cards of Huygens Bookshop”.

The 1936 Berlin Olympics has always been a popular Games to collect and it helps that there is a lot of material out there. For a new collector interested in the Olympics it’s the ideal one to start with as much of the material is very affordable and easy to find on collectables sites such as Ebay. And for the advanced collector with a bigger budget, there are some rarities to hunt for. In this sale we had three examples of the miniature sheet with the imperforate variety. Lot 10656 illustrated adjacent fetched the highest price, realising €9’500 against a Michel catalogue value of €20’000 an auction estimate of €6’000.


The following day saw international interest in part 1 of Joe Chalhoub’s Egyptian foreign offices and post offices abroad, due in no small part to the Austrian, British, French, Greek, Italian and Russians who set up their own post offices in the major cities of Egypt. Russian mail is certainly the more difficult to find, and lot 20197 was a particularly striking example from Port Said with a pair of Russian Levant 1k and 5k tied by blue numerals and green datestamps. The lucky bidder got it at the hammer price of €9’000.

One of the highest realisations in the Egypt sale was this very rare cover (lot 20203) from the Egyptian consular office in Cavala, Greece, and sent to the island of Syros with a Large Hermes head affixed on arrival for postage due. It had previously belonged to Peter Smith, who wrote the seminal work on Egypt’s postal history. Tense bidding between the room and the internet took the bidding from €14’000 to €22’000.


The second and final part of the “Tatiana” collection of Mauritius showed some fierce competition on the more unusual and unique items in the sale. Cancellations on stamps were keenly sought-after, with the rare examples often fetching several times the estimate. Among some of the pleasantly surprising results was this Post Paid Intermediate Impression 1d with a significant pre-printing paper fold, which was opened before it was applied to the cover as the cancel crosses the unprinted section. Bidding rose from £2’400 to a hammer price of £8’000.

Another unusual and unique item was lot 30108, a Worn Impression 1d pair which shows a strong double print. Bidding steadily but surely increased from £5’000 to £9’500. Only for it to kick off again 5 minutes later after a delay to solve a technical issue, with it finally reaching a hammer price of £17’000. Certainly worth the wait.

Interestingly, both of these items were sold by us in the famous Kanai collection in 1993, and a the time, each were sold for CHF5’000 plus 15% premium.

We’d like to thank everybody who participated in the sale, and we trust that everyone who managed to find something for their collection will be very happy with what they have bought.